Pampa Linda Guide (Cerro Tronador)


October 15, 2022

Pampa Linda is an area located in the Nahuel Huapi National Park, where Cerro Tronador and its eight glaciers are located. It is also the starting point for several hikes, refuges, glaciers and waterfalls. It is located 80 km from Bariloche, of which 40 km are on Route 40 and the other 40 km are inside the park and are unpaved. The best way to visit this area is with your own car, but if you don't have one, you can hire an excursion from Bariloche. If you plan to do several hikes, it is best to stay overnight in the area, where there are hostels and campsites available. There are also restaurant options in the area for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

How to get to Pampa Linda?

As we mentioned, it is located 80 km from Bariloche and it takes a little more than 2 hours because half of the road is unpaved. It is important to take into account that 9 km after entering Nahuel Huapi National Park, you will arrive at Los Rápidos. Here the road forks in two directions: one towards Pampa Linda and the other towards Cascada de los Alerces. Both roads have one-way schedules, so it is very important to be aware of the times when you want to travel:

  • Schedule from Los Rápidos to Pampa Linda: from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm.
  • From Pampa Linda to Los Rápidos: from 16:00 to 18:00 hs.
  • Pampa Linda - Los Rápidos: double lane from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
  • From Los Rápidos to Cascada Los Alerces: from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
  • From Los Alerces waterfall to Los Rápidos: from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
  • Los Alerces waterfall to Los Rápidos: double-handed from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 a.m.

If you do not have your own vehicle you can opt for an excursion: Tronador Mountain Excursion

It is also possible to get there by public transportation from Bariloche. If you feel like doing several of the trails, it is best to stay overnight in the area. There are hostels and camping sites, as well as restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

National Park Rates (2022)

  • Domestic residents: $260
  • Children from 6 to 16 years old: $140
  • Retirees and children under 6 free
  • Foreigners: $1860
Map of Cerro Tronador area

Walks and short hikes

Black beach

A few kilometers from the beginning of the gravel road you will reach the shores of Lake Mascardi where Playa Negra is located. 

Saltillo de las Nalcas

400 meters after passing the Hosteria de Pampa Linda, there is a road that turns to the left that leads to the parking lot to make the trail to the Saltillo de las Nalcas. It is a super short trail that takes 20 - 30 minutes. The waterfall is located on a rocky outcrop of Cerro Biblioteca. It is beautiful to appreciate as the 40 meter waterfall falls without touching the rock and it is possible to walk behind it. 

Black snowdrift 

It is located 7km from the Hostería de Pampa Linda and can be reached by car. The Ventisquero Negro is one of the 8 glaciers that Cerro Tronador has. The particularity of this one is that since it incorporates sediments it has a characteristic dark color. 

#Fact: Cerro Tronador is so named because of the noise produced by the frequent detachment of ice from the glaciers, similar to thunder. 

Black Snowdrift
Black Snowdrift

Devil's Throat

It is located at the foot of the tronador hill. To get there you have to walk a 1km trail (20 minutes) of medium-low difficulty. It is a waterfall caused by the melting of glaciers in the mountain.

Devil's Throat
Devil's Throat

Los Alerces Waterfall

The beginning of the trail to the Los Alerces waterfall, unlike the previous ones, does not leave from Pampa Linda, but you have to take the fork in Los Rápidos towards the Los Alerces waterfall. The trail has a wooden staircase and is of low difficulty with a distance of approximately 500 meters. At the beginning of the trail you can already see the Manso River running with its divine turquoise color. Then you can continue to an upper viewpoint and a lower one where you can see the waterfall in front of you.


Half day hikes

Perez Stone

This is a 5 km round trip trail of high difficulty. It starts next to the Confitería Los Ventisqueros located at the base of Cerro Tronador. You can get here by car or on foot from Pampa Linda (7.5km). Most of the trail is uphill. At the first viewpoint you can see the Manso Glacier and further on the incredible Castaño Overa Glacier. In total it takes between 5 and 6 hours to do the whole route.


Castaño Overa Glacier

This trail begins at the Pampa Linda Ranger Station and extends for 14 km (round trip), with a medium level of difficulty. According to the information sign, it takes about 6 hours to complete, but it is possible to do it in less time. We did it in 3 hours.

The first kilometers of the trail are relatively flat, then continue along the same path that leads to the Otto Meiling Refuge, until you reach a fork that leads to the viewpoint (approximately 1 hour walk). From the viewpoint, you can see numerous waterfalls fed by the meltwater of the Castaño Overa glacier, in addition to having a privileged view of the glacier from below.

Castaño Overo Glacier
Castaño Overo Glacier

Full day hikes

Otto Meiling HutThis refuge is one of our favorites in the south, the view it offers is breathtaking and leaves you speechless. It is located on Cerro Tronador, between the Castaño Overa and Alerce glaciers. The trail to get there starts at the Pampa Linda Ranger Station and has a distance of 13 km, it is estimated that it takes about 5 hours to climb. To spend the night in the refuge or to camp it is necessary to reserve in advance (maximum 72 hours before). Prices for food and overnight stays can be found on the refuge's website.

From the refuge it is possible to make several excursions on the glaciers of Cerro Tronador. We wanted to do the crossing to the Rocca Refuge by the Alerce Glacier, but there was no room, so we recommend that you book in advance. We ended up hiking on the Castaño Overa Glacier, which we loved.

It is also possible to connect this refuge with the Agostini Rocca Refuge by walking along the conventional trail).

Castaño Overo Glacier

Refugio Agostino Rocca : This trail also starts from the same point as Otto Meiling. It has a distance of 14 kilometers and is approximately 4-6 hours of walking. Medium-low difficulty. From the refuge it is possible to do different traverses such as the waterfall walk, crossing the Alerce glacier or ascending the constitution hill. It is possible to return from the refuge by the Frias Lake, you can walk a 12km trail to the side where you take a boat back to Puerto Pañuelo. It is also possible to join the refuge with Laguna Ilón.

Laguna Ilón RefugeThe beginning of this trail is the same as the previous two. It has a distance of 8km and takes approximately 4 hours. From Laguna Ilón you can go to Mirada del Doctor, the trail takes 1 hour. This refuge connects with the Agostini Rocca Refuge.

Sleeping in Pampa Linda

In order to be able to visit all that the area has to offer, it is advisable to stay overnight in the area. In Pampa Linda there are inns, camping sites and mountain refuges, among them:

Pampa Linda Lodge

Hosteria Pampa Linda

Camping les Vuriloches